Beauty Librarian Contest

One of our big tourist attractions in this neck of the woods is the Mohegan Sun Casino, which naturally makes me think of librarians.  They all go together: gambling, second-hand smoke, glamour, live bands, and librarians.  Small-talking in line for the bar, I discovered I’m not the only one to find this combination delightfully absurd.

Last Thursday, the CT Authors Trail had its culminating event in the casino’s Cabaret Theater, just past the no-smoking slots, and while the highlight of the evening was listening to author Jane Green tell us about how she nearly threw up in Harrison Ford’s helicopter (“It wouldn’t be the first time,” he told her), a close runner-up was the moment when a dozen librarians lined up on the stage under the spotlights to pick winners for prize baskets.

Yes, prize baskets, to add a wholesome thrill.

Librarians, Mohegan Sun Casino Cabaret Theater, September 22, 2011

There was something enormously satisfying about seeing librarians highlighted this way, literally.  It was like a spoof of a beauty contest, with women picked for their brains, organizational skills, love of books, and gentle manners.  One by one, they stepped forward to the mic, introduced themselves and their libraries, drew a ticket out of a bag, read the name aloud (or not if the ticket was blank, in which case, unrattled, they repeated the process), accepted a spatter of applause, and walked down the stage steps to make sure the prize basket made it to the right person.

Kristi Sadowski, co-director of the Booth & Dimock Library in Coventry, CT, had her heart pounding the whole time.  I know because she confessed this to me afterward.  I don’t blame her; I’d have felt the same way.  But she was great.  They all were.

If the point of the casino’s partnership with the librarians was to sponsor a community event and cover the costs of printing the Author Trail brochures in exchange for luring a hundred potential gamblers in on a slow Thursday night, I’d say it succeeded.  I didn’t lose a nickel, and I had a rare chance to cheer for librarians.


4 Responses to Beauty Librarian Contest

  • Ms. O’Brien:

    What I find delightfully absurd is the fact that an author would belittle an event that she herself took part in. As an attendee of both your presentation at Booth & Dimock Memorial Library and the Finale of the Connecticut Authors Trail, I think you must live in the dystopian world you write about.

    As a Connecticut author, you were invited to speak and promote your work at two different free events. Not only did you have the opportunity to give a comprehensive presentation at Booth & Dimock Memorial Library to over 25 people, but you were again invited to the Finale, which over 120 people attended. All you had to do was appear, and either librarians or Mohegan Sun staff took care of the rest.

    Since the start of this trail three years ago, Mohegan Sun has graciously and freely provided printing, publicity, and, as part of their Winning Authors Program, The Cabaret Theater to host the Finale; this includes staff, light refreshments, and copies of your book. If you did not care for the casino environment, you did not have to attend. Neither you nor any other authors or attendees were under an obligation to gamble. Books are just another form of entertainment, which is something the Mohegan Sun Casino focuses on providing. So please, stop insulting the libraries and librarians who have made it their mission to care for and promote your books.

    You may not have lost a nickel, but you most definitely lost a reader.


  • Carolyn ~
    I found the entire event delightful and I have the deepest respect for librarians. I remain grateful that I was included. I’m sorry my post appears to be an insult when I intended to celebrate the evening.
    All best,

  • Wow! Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed.

  • I have to say how suprised I was to read Carolyn’s critique. I thought the event sounded very nice through Caragh’s eyes. It sounds like it was conducted with grace, intelligence, and that sense of professionalism and humor I tend to expect from librarians.

    The casinos have changed the landscape of the NE as well as the Midwest, and most are great neighbors. But “librarians” and “casinos” to me seem an unlikely pairing, too. It’s good to hear that some are doing more for their communities than bringing C list bands to town (and C list bands deserve to make a living, too). It’s great that they are supporting authors and librarians. It sounds like the event was a win-win for all.

    I’m always glad to hear about librarians being celebrated. I’m also glad you attended an event that supports your fellow CT writers and the librarians in the state. Thanks for painting a picture of an event I couldn’t have attended and wouldn’t have known about.

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